With the acquisition of hardware and platform partner, AlertMe, in 2015, Centrica Connected Home was faced with the prospect of a significant shift in focus. Previously the relationship had been one of vendor-customer with AlertMe also pursuing it's own goals for expansion and licensing of its software. After the acquisition, Centrica Connected Home moved to quickly integrate the technical talent from the two companies and then to realign the development efforts of the teams.
The new common goals of product evolution, feature enhancement and international launch, presented a number of challenges in the form of a rapid scaling requirement for their live platform, whilst maintaining stability and availability. Added to these demands on the company were an expansion into new markets, and brand new product launches, including smart boiler service and a growing ecosystem of new Hive smart home devices. They even found the time to develop deeply functional Alexa skills for their products and hence be a Smart Home Launch Partner for the Amazon Echo in the UK in 2016.
Centrica is an international energy and services company. Centrica supplies energy and energy-related services to around 28 million customer accounts mainly in the UK, Ireland and North America, through brands such as British Gas, Direct Energy and Bord Gáis Energy supported by around 12,000 engineers and technicians.
Working with the AWS IoT Service Team under the EMEA IOT Lead for Amazon Web Services, Claudiu Pasa, they began a proof of concept project for migration from their existing device management platform to a specialised AWS IoT based service for new and existing devices. This deeper AWS integration enabled the replacement of other platform components with a leaner, faster Lambda based microservices infrastructure, with Amazon EC2 and Amazon RDS still playing a large part in their infrastructure for longer lived components such as data stores and platform UIs.
Additional use of integrated AWS services such as Amazon S3 data storage and web hosting, Amazon API Gateway, Amazon Cognitoand Amazon Cloudfront offer attractive benefits, when used in concert with more traditional infrastructure, such as lower latency to the customer, less scalability limitations and more resilience, allowing their engineering team to focus on systems that add value to the business such as advanced monitoring using AWS partner Wavefront, aggregated logging and application analysis using Amazon Elasticsearch Service, and cost analysis and attribution using resource tags and consolidated billing in Amazon Organisations.